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Sri Lanka shares fall from two-week high on tax, economic woes

Mar 18 (Reuters) Shares fell on Friday after two sessions of gains as uncertainty over a capital gains tax, higher budget deficit and economic growth weighed on investors' sentiment. The benchmark share index was down 0.17%, or 10.38 points, at 6,057.79, edging down from its highest close since March 3 hit on Thursday. Sri Lanka will raise its value-added tax and reintroduce capital gains tax to break out of a debt trap, ahead of talks on a $1.5-billion loan it is seeking from the IMF. more..

Who is the devil behind the darkness?

Mar 18 (DM) At a time of the year when people are rushing indoors to avoid the scorching heat, an irregular series of power outages have added to their burden. Last Sunday, Sri Lanka experienced the third power outage which lasted around 8 hours and made headlines in local and international media. Taking matters on a serious note, the Premier himself appointed a special committee to investigate into the matter and requested the military to guard key power stations in the island. more..

Knee injury forces Malinga to return home

Mar 18 (CI) Lasith Malinga has been ruled out of the World Twenty20 with injury, dealing a substantial blow to Sri Lanka's campaign. Having flown to India earlier this week hopeful of playing some part in the tournament, Malinga has aggravated the bone bruise in his left knee that has plagued him since November. He has returned to Sri Lanka, and the selectors are expected to name a replacement over the next 72 hours, more..

People’s Movement Against Port City wants project halted

Mar 18 (CT) People’s Movement against the Port City has demanded President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to immediately halt the project as it is detrimental to the country’s environment. In a statement, the movement recalled Wickremesinghe’s initial stand on the project during the Presidential Election campaign in 2014, where he reportedly said the “western coast would be severely affected as a result of the construction activities of the Port City project. more..

Suspected 10 kg ambergris sent to Sri Lanka for tests

Mar 18 (Haveeru) A suspected ambergris weighing 10 kg found in the island of Foddhoo in Noonu atoll has been sent to neighbouring SL for tests. Object believed to be an ambergris was discovered on the island beach by a woman residing in Foddhoo, Fathmath Waseema born to Shaviyani atoll Foakaidhoo island. A family member of Waseema said that a sample of the suspected ambergris had been sent to SL four days back, and the results could be expected within a week. more..

Sri Lanka confident to revoke EU fishery ban this year

Mar 18 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is to send a high level team to Brussels on March 30 to hold talks on a fishery ban imposed by the EU. "We will conduct a decisive meeting with EU on the fishery ban issue and its outcome will determine our fishery export outlook to Europe in future. We believe the outcome shall be favorable for Sri Lanka," Chairman of Seafood Exporters Association of Sri Lanka (SEASL) Prabhash Subasinghe said. more..

Trespass: Male students invited to girls' school: Principal

Mar 18 (DM) After the Kollupitiya Police informed Court that the complainant -- in a case involving 14 students of a leading boys school in Colombo who were charged with trespass on the property of a girl’s school in Kollupitiya -- had intimated that she did not wish to proceed with the case, Colombo Fort magistrate and additional district judge Priyantha Liyanage discharged the concerned students. When the case was taken up in court, SI Dammika Perera of the Kollupitiya Police submitted more..

It was Malinga who opted to return: SLC

Mar 18 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Secretary Mohan De Silva said it was Malinga who wanted to return to the country saying he was not 100 percent fit. He said the team management had noticed Malinga’s poor physical fitness during yesterday’s training session. He said Malinga had returned to the country and that a suitable replacement would be sent soon. He rejected the statement made by Malinga that he was sent to India despite his recent recovery for a knee journey. more..

Sri Lanka coal plants need back-up generators for safe shutdown: Minister

Mar 18 (EN) The CEB may have to install back-up power to safely shut down and re-start its coal plants and end multi-day delays now seen after emergency shutdowns during blackouts, Deputy Power Minister Ajith Perera said. After a country-wide power outage Sunday, triggered by a failure at a transformer, the utility is enforcing 7-hour power cuts as much as five days later as it struggled to re-start at least two of its three 300 Mw more..

4-day shutdown of Wellawatte–Mt. Lavinia rail track

Mar 18 (DM) One of the two rail tracks between Wellawatte and Mount Lavinia will be closed for four days from Friday 8.00 p.m. to Tuesday 4.30 p.m., Railway Operations Superintendent Wijaya Samarasinghe said. He said it was being done to carry out repairs to the existing bridge and to facilitate the construction of a new bridge between Wellawatte and Mount Lavinia. “There will be no change in the scheduled train times on the coastal line though there may be a slight delay more..

Accepting of public complaints by PRECIFAC to end next week

Mar 18 (CG) The time given by the Presidential Commission to the public to submit their complaints and petitions regarding inquiries into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC) will end on March 24,2016. The President’s office said that the Secretary of the Commission, H.W. Gunadasa has requested the public to submit their complaints, petitions and information to the Commission prior to the deadline. more..

Another transformer catches fire

Mar 18 (Xinhua) A fire broke out at an electricity substation in Kotugoda on the suburbs of the capital Colombo Friday, triggering power cuts in several areas near the capital. The fire occurred just days after an explosion in another power transformer caused an islandwide power failure. CEB officials said malfunction had caused the fire. Firefighters had been called in. The fire broke out just two days after security forces more..

World T20: New Zealand beat Australia

Mar 18 (CI) New Zealand's Midas touch at this World Twenty20 continued in Dharamsala, where they took their tournament record to two wins from two matches with an eight-run victory over Australia. Having spun India out in Nagpur, New Zealand made one change to their side, bringing in the fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan to replace the spinner Nathan McCullum. McClenaghan duly took 3 for 17 and played a significant role in derailing Australia's innings. more..

Rajitha returns from Singapore

Mar 18 (DN) Minister Rajitha Senaratne who left for Singapore seeking medical care returned to the country last night (17), in a Sri Lankan Airlines UL 309 flight from Singapore. Senaratne was admitted to the Mount Elizabeth Hospital on February 16, Singapore due to a sudden ailment. The minister was earlier admitted to a private hospital in Colombo where the doctors had advised him a period of bed rest. The Minister had undergone a number of tests at the hospital, more..

Sri Lanka vows to fight global warming

Mar 18 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is to launch 10,000 environment friendly villages throughout the country by 2020 in its aims to fight global warming, a minister said here on Friday. Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilleke said that on a proposal made by President Maithripala Sirisena, the SL cabinet had agreed to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and had agreed to minimize the emission of greenhouse gases more..

Tamil Anthem not ultra-vires

Mar 18 (CT) Gonapola Sugatha Mahavihare Prelate Ven. Sasanaloka Thera in an intervenient petition to the Supreme Court states that is not inconsistent with the Constitution to sing the National Anthem in Tamil. The Ven.Thera filed this petition in response to a Fundamental Rights application filed by Sugath Perera of Galborella, Asiri Zoysa of Peliyagoda and Don Premaratna against the singing of the National Anthem in Tamil. They filed this petition citing President Maithripala Sirisena as more..

Police to bust narcotic using bus drivers

Mar 18 (CT) Police have asked for on-the-spot narcotic detecting machines to deal with errant long distance bus drivers. Traffic Police DIG Amarasiri Senaratne said that Police have imported several of equipment to experiment in order to track down errant drivers following the alarming trend of long distance bus drivers being under the influence of cannabis and other narcotics. He said the Police only have facilities to track down those under the influence of liquor. more..

President emphasizes the responsibility to protect environment

Mar 18 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena says at present the developed countries in the world once who destroyed the environment utilizing the modern technology to achieve their development goals have come forward to take the leadership to protect the environment for the survival of human beings. Today, the entire mankind suffers from the results of destroying the nature, President said that adding worse more..

India to establish Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Auditorium in Ruhuna University

Mar 18 (HCI) As part of its development partnership with Sri Lanka in the field of higher education, the Govt of India is undertaking a project to set up the Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Auditorium in the University of Ruhuna, Matara at a cost of SLR 265 million. Following a process of competitive bidding, a contract to construct the building complex was signed on March 17, 2016 with M/s. Link Engineering (Pvt.) Ltd in the presence of Mr. Y.K. Sinha, High Commissioner of India; more..

Similarity between two transformer explosions: Ministry

Mar 18 (DM) Power and Renewable Energy Ministry said there appeared to be a similarity between the two unusual explosions that broke out at the Biyagama Grid Sub Station last week and the Kotugoda CEB Grid Sub Station today. Ministry Secretary Suren Batagoda said the cause of the two explosions still remained a question for the engineers. Suspicions have also arisen as to how the two transformers had exploded in the same way amidst the security within Sub Stations in more..

Troops clear wild animals from Sri Lanka's white-elephant airport

Mar 18 (AFP) Sri Lanka has deployed troops and firecrackers to clear deer and wild buffalo from a sprawling airport, officials said Friday, drawing attention to a largely redundant vanity project built by a former president. Mattala airport, which services just one flight a day, was built in the home district of former strongman leader Mahinda Rajapakse, 250 km by road from the capital Colombo, at a cost of $210 million. more..

Patriotism & Skewed Histories

Mar 19 (CT) With the coming of independence from Britain in 1948, power was ceded to the colonial elite, and it could not have been otherwise. For it is they who had the education, and the skills in administration and govt. Being in a privileged class cannot do much harm if one has the humility to recognise that it is not divinely ordained, and that if one went far enough back in one’s lineage, one is likely to discover that such privilege often came into the family through dubious means. more..

Power in the Park

Mar 19 (CT) After Hyde Park, March 17th 2016, politics cannot go on as before. Not for much longer anyway. For a few months now, Prof. Kumar David, a literate leftist and an ideologue of the Yahapalana bloc, has strenuously urged in his columns that the UNF (and its cosmopolitan left allies) smash the Rajapaksas on the streets. Luckily for the UNF, it chose to ignore that advice or else it would have been a case of Bambi meets Godzilla, with the UNF playing Bambi. more..

Cause Eagle!

Mar 19 (SO) Hot on the heels of a successful social media campaign last week – Occupy the Square – that defended the right of young lovers to meet at Independence Square without being chased away by cultural police, a second such campaign also resulted in immediate results: Two suspects were arrested for killing a white-bellied eagle, 3 others are absconding. Though the issue concerning lovers and birds is poles apart, more..

Blackouts and politics of power sector

Mar 19 (NS) The country has just witnessed one of the worst blackouts in its recent history. Too many islandwide power failures at unusual intervals have even aroused suspicions of sabotage. Politicians are engaged in levelling allegations against one another making political capital out of the unfortunate happenings. Country as a whole suffered a huge economic loss while the people had to undergo many hardships. At the root of all this is the unresolved power crisis. more..

Misfortunes never come singly

Mar 19 (NS) Sasanka Alwis is a 17-year-old boy currently living in a vegetative state with permanent brain damage because of an accident that took place three years ago in his College pool. Royal College Scout Troop organized a scouting camp, and Sasanka, who was in Grade 9 at the time, took part in event along with many of his classmates. However, as fate would have it, something quite unexpected happened, and during a school activity, Sasanka drowned in College pool. more..

'Constitution to abolish the exec. Presidency'

Mar 19 (SL) Parliament resolved to be a Constitutional Assembly in a unanimous vote, and the govt claims it is a huge victory for them as it now paves the way for enacting a new Constitution for Sri Lanka. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said that the govt is not in a hurry to rush things through and although some decisions are slow, the progress made and the victories achieved are more meaningful in the long run. more..

Elephant in the trunk

Mar 19 (Island) Sheikh Yamani, a former Saudi oil minister, predicted about 16 years ago that in a few decades oil reserves would lie untapped and the so-called oil age will come to an end. His argument ran counter to the popularly held view then that oil would run out before an alternative was found. There would be huge amounts of oil in the world market without any buyers, he warned. He said: "The Stone Age came to an end not because we had a lack of stones and the oil age will come to an end more..

Paths light up to Sirisenaruwa

Mar 19 (Island) Power play among government and the opposition over power supply will continue for some time. Those in the opposition get new strength when there is no current flowing to the homes of the people, and darkness without choice is a good time for renewed political strategy. Such darkness is also adding to the Sirisena goal of a Polonnaruwa revival. Just as the power supply is restored, one would think there is a new issue for the Sirisena strategists in the Grand Coalition more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Mark Salter rejects point scoring on Sri Lanka conflict

Mar 19 (Island) I write in response to Shamindra Ferdinando's 9 March column for The Island - Failed Norwegian peace bid in SL: Different perspectives, glaring omissions. I welcome the coverage the column gives to the recent Colombo launch of my new book. To End A Civil War: Norway's Peace Engagement in Sri Lanka - at an event held at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) that Ferdinando himself attended. At the same time, the column significantly misrepresents more..

The lesson in Danno Budunge imbroglio: Bach to basics

Mar 19 (Island) Independence Day celebrations of 2016 became notable for all the wrong reasons: it was first revealed that the ceremony was being shifted to the supposedly milder afternoon hours. The reason given was, literally, to save the skins of the new breed of yahapalana politicians from the harsh morning sun at the Galle Face; Not surprising that they would have difficulty in bearing the sun- attired in three-piece suits, even without the wool pea coats and scarfs! more..

Ministry justifies Consular General appointment

Mar 19 (NS) External Affairs Ministry last week justified the appointment of Swarna Gunaratne, aunt of MP Hirunika Premachandra, as Consular General of Sri Lanka to the USA, based in Los Angeles. Allegations of nepotism were levelled against the Govt following the appointment last week. Acting Director General of Public Communications Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Satya Rodrigo said several factors more..

Wiggy in praise of Field Marshal

Mar 19 (CT) C.V. Wigneswaran was full of praise for SL's first Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka for the comments he made at his maiden Parliament address on calling for an investigation the alleged war crimes with international involvement and also for the Field Marshal calling for an investigation into the white flag issue which is believed to have led to the deaths of scores of LTTE cadres including some of the outfit's key figures who had opted to surrender at the end of the final phase more..

Guided by conscience

Mar 19 (DN) This week we feature MP Prof. Ashu Marasinghe, a UNP Parliamentarian from the National List, who has had the best of both cultures. The Latin phrase scientia cum religione (religion and knowledge united) can be associated with this politician. Marasinghe was an Associate Professor and a visiting Professor at the International University of Japan and was also a visiting Professor at the Centre for International Cooperation for Computerization. more..

SLFP wavers on dissidents

Mar 19 (NS) While the UPFA will not take action against the SLFP MPs who attended last Thursday’s Joint Opposition rally at Hyde Park chaired by former President Rajapaksa, top SLFP sources hinted that SLFP Leader President Sirisena was likely to summon an emergency meeting of the party Central Committee to decide on the action that should be taken against those members who violated party discipline. more..

World T20: England beat South Africa

Mar 19 (CI) England completed the second-highest successful chase in T20 internationals and the highest in World T20 history to keep their campaign alive. They held their nerve chasing 230, thanks to a blistering start from Jason Roy and a clinical innings from Joe Root that ripped South Africa's attack apart and undid their batsmen's efforts. Quinton de Kock, Hashim Amla and JP Duminy all scored half-centuries in a line-up that included AB de Villiers at No. 3 and South Africa would more..

1996 World Cup Heroes in action on Mar 19

Mar 19 (NS) In a bid to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the historic 1996 Cricket World Cup victory by the Sri Lankans, arrangements have been made by SL Cricketers Association to have this team led by Arjuna Ranatunga play an exhibition T20 cricket match against an All Stars XI at the CCC grounds on March 19. This match will give cricket fans the opportunity to witness some of their old stars in action with the support of Singer SL who were the official sponsor of that team. more..

CEB loses millions in blackouts

Mar 19 (NS) The CEB is estimated to have faced a revenue loss of at least Rs. 600 million owing to the islandwide power outage on March 13 and subsequent power cuts in several parts of the country last week. The estimate is calculated according to the tariff methodology formula of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL). This amount is said to involve only the direct losses incurred by CEB owing to power disruption. more..

UPTOWN Kandy, Liberty Plaza: ‘A wide-ranging shopping experience’

Mar 19 (Island) Emerging from Kiribathgoda and achieving a sustainable growth over 24 years, retail brothers, Ajith Ratnasekare and Sujeewa Ratnasekare, will launch their UPTOWN Kandy Department Store on 2nd Floor, Liberty Plaza Colombo on March 26, promising a wide ranging shopping experience to all Sri Lankans. "UPTOWN Kandy, the 85,000SQF Department Store will provide an all-inclusive shopping experience for shoppers looking to buy quality products more..